The leading Czech optical retail chain, Fokus Optik, has acquired a controlling interest of 56 percent in the leading chain in Slovakia, Ocná Optika. Together they will form a group that will trade in the future under the name Fokus-Ocná Optika and that may move into another foreign country such as Poland.

With 90 shops in the Czech Republic, Fokus claims a market share of 10 percent there. Its sales grew last year by 3.5 percent to 427 million korunas (€15.5m-$20.0m). Ocná Optika has an estimated market share of 15 percent in Slovakia with a turnover of 190 million CZK (€6.88m-$8.90m) and 43 stores. Both companies are profitable.

The two companies will bundle purchasing and other operations. For example they will consolidate their data processing systems. They will seek to extend the number of shops in both countries to obtain strategic positions based on the number of inhabitants in the various towns and cities.

The two networks will share the private label items sold by Fokus Optik. They consist of two lines of spectacles, Fokus and Crown, produced in the Far East and positioned at different price levels. There is also a generic line of contact lenses and solutions.

There will be no change in management, but the manager of the Slovakian company, Imrich Kucera, will report to Jiri Los, the managing director of Fokus Optik. Los is one of the shareholders in Fokus Optik, a company that was founded in 1991. The other shareholders are Vilém Richter and Jaromir Novotny.

Fokus Optik is a member of the Renomé club, which allows customers to accumulate points for discount vouchers at the stores of various chains. Besides Fokus Optik, the four other members of the club are the Czech Bata chain of shoe shops, a jewelry chain called Klenoty Aurum, a chain of men's wear stores called Blazek and a chain of jeans shops, Reserved.